Gentamicin (Systemic)

Pediatric Medication

Brand Names: Canada

Gentamicin Injection, USP


  • This drug may cause kidney problems, nerve problems, and hearing problems (like long-lasting hearing loss). This could even happen at normal doses. The risk of these problems may be higher if your child already has kidney or hearing problems, gets high doses of this drug, or gets this drug for a long time. The risk may also be higher in older people, infants, or people who are dehydrated. Hearing loss can happen even after this drug is stopped. If your child already has kidney problems or hearing problems, tell the doctor. The doctor will watch your child closely and may test hearing and kidney function. Talk with the doctor.
  • Do not give this drug to your child if your child is taking or has recently taken any drugs that can cause nerve, kidney, or hearing problems. This may be drugs like amphotericin B, bacitracin, cephaloridine, cisplatin, colistin, cyclosporine, ethacrynic acid, furosemide, paromomycin, polymyxin B, vancomycin, viomycin, or other drugs like this one. There are many other drugs that can do this. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.

If your child is pregnant:

  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if your child takes it during pregnancy. If your child is pregnant or gets pregnant while taking this drug, call the doctor right away.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat bacterial infections.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

  • If your child has an allergy to this drug or any part of this drug.
  • If your child is allergic to any drugs like this one or any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
This drug may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that your child is using this drug.
  • If your child is allergic to sulfites, talk with your child’s doctor. Some products have sulfites in them.
  • Have your child’s blood work checked often. Talk with your child’s doctor.
  • Do not give to your child longer than you have been told. A second infection may happen.
  • Very bad muscle problems and very bad breathing problems have happened with this drug. The risk of these problems may be higher if your child is getting certain drugs used to put your child to sleep or to relax the muscles. The risk is also higher if your child is getting a certain type of blood transfusion. Talk with the doctor.

If your child is pregnant or breast-feeding a baby:

  • Talk with the doctor if your child is pregnant, becomes pregnant, or is breast-feeding a baby. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in the amount of urine passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
  • Change in balance.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Ringing or roaring in the ears.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Twitching.
  • Seizures.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Change in thinking clearly and with logic.
  • Low mood (depression).
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Very bad headache.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if your child has any side effects that bother your child or do not go away.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • It is given as a shot into a muscle or vein.
  • Have your child drink lots of noncaffeine liquids every day unless told to drink less liquid by your child’s doctor.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

  • Call your child’s doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • This drug will be given to your child in a hospital or doctor’s office. You will not store it at home.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Keep a list of all your child’s drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your child’s doctor.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date



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Gentamicin (Systemic)
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on December 1, 2015